Exclusive Q&A: Jenson Button talks to Sky Sports News ahead of the Bahrain GP
McLaren driver disappointed by decision to drop soft tyre compound
By William Esler. Last Updated: 18/04/13 5:04pm
It has been a difficult start to 2013 for McLaren and their radical MP4-28, but Jenson Button has told Sky Sports News' Rachel Brookes he is hopeful the team secure another solid points finish in Bahrain.
We came here for the sun, but there are grey clouds around and it has been raining this morning.
Jenson Button: "It is indeed, earlier this week they had a massive storm, so it could be interesting this weekend."
The Grand Prix here last year you had a very difficult race with lots of problems on the car, how are you feeling going into this weekend considering the start to the season you have had?
JB: "The last race for us was actually good - we really did extract everything from the car. In terms of strategy we did a great job and I think the team should be really proud of themselves.
"Not a lot has changed ahead of this weekend, but it is very, very different in terms of the layout of the circuit and how the tyres work - we were front limited at the last race, this week it is rear limited - and we are going to see what we can do. I feel that we can get the same sort of result if we get lucky and get everything right, but anything better is going to have to wait until we get back to Europe."
Pirelli have decided to change the charges from the soft to the medium this weekend - how do you feel about that?
JB: "It is a bit disappointing - the soft would have been nice. Where we are at the minute, we try to do different things with the strategy and that is what is getting us points at the minute - perhaps more points than the car deserves. We will make the best of it, it is still so hot here, so it is still not going to be easy on the tyres and that is good for us."
What do you think about all the conversations about tyres at the moment and the way people, like yourself, drove slowly in Q3 and others opted not to set a time at all in China?
JB: "I'm bored of the question about tyres - that is for definite - we have been asked it so many times. They are the four things attached to the track, you know they are important, but they always have been - even when we had one set of tyres for the entire race the tyres were important and that is part of racing.
"The idea of the Pirelli tyre was to have two or three stops during a race and that is what we have had. It is what it is and there is enough for us to be worrying about that. We don't need to be worrying about tyres - we feel we have a good enough understanding of the tyres - the car is the thing that has been difficult for us."
It has been a difficult season and we have seen some disciplined driving from you this year, how tough has it been?
JB: "Yes, disciplined is the right word. The last race it was really tough because I would come on the radio and say 'guys, guys can I race these people that are trying to overtake me?' and they would say, 'yes, race, race, attack,' and then 20 seconds later they would say 'sorry, no you can't, you have to get to this lap on this set of tyres.'
"So it was a really tough race - people came up and I just waved them past - but it was the best way for us to get good points. We got fifth place and we beat one of every car on the grid and that is the best result we were going to get in China. So we are going to take those points and move forwards - not all the races are going to be like that and we won't always try to do one less stop than everyone else."
Will there be any updates here or are you waiting on Spain and is there an awful lot more pressure on that update now?
JB: "There is a lot of pressure on the whole team yes. But they are working flat out and I know that because they want to get back to the front - this is a passionate team and they love winning, they are used to winning and fifth place is not what they are after.
"It was a good result in China, we got the best out of the car, but it is not where we want to be. We will have a big package in Barcelona - it is not going to be the full seven or eight tenths in qualifying - but it will be a base we can really build on and it will then give us more options for the car in the future. I am really looking forward to that race."
Paddy Lowe was the man who designed this car - how difficult is it now that he is on gardening leave and not to have him to come in and help develop this car and get things right?
JB: "He seems to have disappeared and I would love to see Paddy right now - he needs to answer a lot of questions! (laughs).
"No, I get on really well with Paddy, he is a good guy and it is a pity to see that he is not going to be around with us in the future, but that is the way the sport is.
"You can't put it down to one individual - there are hundreds of people who work on designing and building the car in all the different areas and it just hasn't come together for us. We know that now and we know what we have to do and that is what this team is really good at - developing a car. It is a pity we started as we did, but that is behind us now and we have to move forward."